Pop-up Campers

longspeak74

Senior Member
Joined
Oct 16, 2018
Messages
246
Location
Wisconsin
Really considering taking the plunge into the pop-up camper world. The GF refuses to sleep in a tent and my 11 year old daughter is really showing a large interest in getting out with me more. Would also consider towing this to Colorado every year. Anyone else run a pop-up and can offer advice on what to look for?
 

Mt Al

Senior Member
Joined
Dec 16, 2017
Messages
513
Location
Montana
Always a tradeoff no matter what you get.
I have both, had the popup for 15 years before a hard sided camper and had ton of fun with it. easier to tow, store, generally more room per towed foot (does that make sense?) with the beds sliding out each end. What I didn't like was setting it up and taking it down, especially if it got rained on, then had to store it and remember to set it up again when the sun came out to dry it out. That said, some of our greatest memories as a family were when we took out the popup. Still have it.

With a hard side, we're able to stock the fridge, change the sheets, use it as a guest house, zero setup/tear down.

They both work, you'll have a blast either way.
 

BRTreedogs

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Nov 16, 2017
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2,024
Location
OR
A pop up tent trailer?
That's literally a tent lol is she gonna sleep in that?
 

TREE ‘EM

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 26, 2018
Messages
373
Location
NE MO
Hard sided pop-up has some real advantages.
Far warmer and weatherproof then canvas.
If you have any trips to Yellowstone on the horizon they don't allow soft sided campers, they want the bears to work for their food.
Get a unit with front ATV capacity if you can. Add a quality tool box and you have additional storage and room to haul coolers too.
 
OP
longspeak74

longspeak74

Senior Member
Joined
Oct 16, 2018
Messages
246
Location
Wisconsin
Any problems towing into the back country?
She won't sleep in a tent, on the ground, in a sleeping bag...
 

CCH

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Joined
Mar 10, 2017
Messages
140
Location
Colorado
If you either buy one already designed for "off road" or flip the springs on the axle, they have a good amount of clearance depending on length and tire size (which can also be increased.) Very few are designed to take a lot of abuse, so be aware that rough roads will affect longevity. Also they are not all designed the same, so be aware of the lift system. Some are much easier to operate than others.

My wife gave up on tents very early in our marriage, and a pop up camper is a HUGE improvement over any tent, most notably in bed comfort and having a furnace (the biggest suck on your battery though.) Other than that, I liked having simple popups and stayed away from ones with bathrooms/showers or even fridges. Because they don't have upper cabinets, they actually feel way more spacious than most hard-sided campers and when you open up the windows, it's like one big screen house. Gear is easily handled as it can be put on the bunks during the day and on whatever bench set up you have at night. For getting up off the ground and having heat, there is very little to rival it if you want to get away from the crowd.

That said, we've moved on to hard-sided campers as the wife wants a bathroom and prefers the hard walls. I don't mind the minimal set up, but even with a very short one that is lifted, it won't go where a pop up will.
 
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longspeak74

longspeak74

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Joined
Oct 16, 2018
Messages
246
Location
Wisconsin
I would also be staying away from ones with bathroom/shower/etc. A simple propane stove or grill would be sufficient for cooking as well. I have a topper on my truck, so storage wouldn't be a problem.
I can rough it myself on solo trips and just sleep in the back of the truck, but want something a bit nicer for them to experience.
 

Piscatory_4

Senior Member
Joined
Dec 16, 2014
Messages
562
I read somewhere that if your going to get a pop up then buy used, new is too expensive and they lose value fast. I've considered one with the ATV area for my dirt bikes and other storage.
 

16Bore

Senior Member
Joined
Mar 31, 2014
Messages
3,021
Be nicer to your wifey.....

Had one and f’n hated the thing. Nothing more than a glorified tent. All we ever did was campground crap so bathrooms and such were available anyway.

Clean the damn thing before you leave, then set it up...”camp”....take it down. Pop it up again when you get home, re-clean. Screw that nonsense. Oh, then it gets to sit in your driveway....

Worst part is I sold a cherry ‘89 4 Runner to get it.

Stupid comes in all shapes and colors....


Check out RV Share or Outdoorsy. It’s the only way I’ll ever do it again.
 
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longspeak74

longspeak74

Senior Member
Joined
Oct 16, 2018
Messages
246
Location
Wisconsin
I would definitely be buying used, never new.
She's a GF, not a wife...I tried that once, but I digress.
 

SaltySailor

Junior Member
Joined
Aug 21, 2018
Messages
27
Location
Palmer, Alaska
Really considering taking the plunge into the pop-up camper world. The GF refuses to sleep in a tent and my 11 year old daughter is really showing a large interest in getting out with me more. Would also consider towing this to Colorado every year. Anyone else run a pop-up and can offer advice on what to look for?
I had a 1986 Jayco J series and a 2004 Jayco Qwest. Have a family of 6 and for the size, a crazy amount of space once popped out, everyone had a bed, and a thermostat controlled heater kicking on throughout the night. Also had a little cook stove, sink, and mini fridge in each one, all of these things made the wife very happy when 'outdoors'. We had some great times in both and they are very easy to tow.

That being said, I got rid of both. A big reason for that is that I am up here in Alaska, and the wet and the cold take its toll any sort of tent camping heater or not. The first one had canvas issues coming down the pipe that I didn't want to deal with, it also was starting to get some quirks in its lift system. Don't know if you have researched the lift systems for these, but its not something you would want to work on or try to repair yourself. I sold that and got the Qwest a few years later. The thing about pop ups is that you CANNOT put them away wet, or they will mold and that's it - you are replacing canvas - both expensive and also not something you may want to tackle yourself. when buying a used popup this will be the thing you need to look for, mold spots or that smell. Inspect the roof for leaks or water stains on ceiling inside, these have multiple seams and joiner sections on the roof that can leak if not maintained. Try to get one with bearing buddies installed. Also, pop ups with showers or toilets are more trouble then they are worth in my opinion, the tanks are tiny anyway, and the clean out/winterization for the grey or black holding tanks isn't worth the time compared to walking to the woods or a SST in a campground to do your business.

If we lived in a dryer climate, I would keep one around. The maintenance on canvas and literally popping it up in my garage to dry it out for a few days each time due to crappy weather once back from the trip made owning one miserable at times. These newer ones with slide outs and outside showers may be something to look at if you are willing to deal with the maintenance.
 

SaltySailor

Junior Member
Joined
Aug 21, 2018
Messages
27
Location
Palmer, Alaska
I forgot to mention, when the roof cranks down onto the main body of the trailer for travel, there is a piece of weather stripping or a seal of some sort that connect the two pieces. Make sure this is in good shape! Took the Qwest on a trip, on down the road through a rain storm, watching my vehicle blast the trailer behind us with rain kicked up from our wheels. I thought, at least we will have a nice dry tent when we get to campground. Yeah......popped that sucker up, everything in the front was soaked, bed, curtains, inner canvas. The front seal had bent inwards and all that rain water blast had entered our 'dry' living area. that was a fun trip.....
 

cnelk

Senior Member
Joined
Mar 1, 2012
Messages
2,821
Location
N Colorado
I found the unit that fits my needs this past year. I still have my wall tents but between the 17’ toy hauler and wall tents, I’m set for up to 3-4 guys

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elkduds

Senior Member
Joined
Jun 22, 2016
Messages
955
Location
CO Springs
Rent or borrow one for a few weekend trips. I didn't keep mine very long for all the reasons noted above, plus the beds get very cold when the air temp goes below 35.
 

CO-AJ

Senior Member
Joined
Apr 23, 2020
Messages
157
Location
Colorado
Really considering taking the plunge into the pop-up camper world. The GF refuses to sleep in a tent and my 11 year old daughter is really showing a large interest in getting out with me more. Would also consider towing this to Colorado every year. Anyone else run a pop-up and can offer advice on what to look for?
Are you still in the market? I have decided to sell mine as we don't go off grid much anymore and the kids are basically grown and out of the house. Let me know.
 

Gunnersdad49

Senior Member
Joined
Feb 21, 2017
Messages
994
Location
Colorado
Any problems towing into the back country?
I towed one down a road that I shouldn't have. I bent the rear bumper all to hell. As I was backing into my driveway, the curb scraped and scraped on the bent bumper. I hopped out to see how much all of that was going to cost me to replace, and it had bent itself magically back to the factory position. I don't know what wizardry is in a pop-up, but I was grateful for it and very careful pulling back out of the driveway!.
 

CO-AJ

Senior Member
Joined
Apr 23, 2020
Messages
157
Location
Colorado
I towed one down a road that I shouldn't have. I bent the rear bumper all to hell. As I was backing into my driveway, the curb scraped and scraped on the bent bumper. I hopped out to see how much all of that was going to cost me to replace, and it had bent itself magically back to the factory position. I don't know what wizardry is in a pop-up, but I was grateful for it and very careful pulling back out of the driveway!.
None. I have towed it into numerous BLM areas to camp. I have never towed it up a billy goat trail or crazy rocky pass. If you wanted a bit more ground clearance you could certainly mount it on top of the axle or put a spacer on it.
 
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